Kit Cischke Selected for Dean’s Teaching Showcase

Kit Cischke, ECE Sr. Lecturer
Kit Cischke, ECE Sr. Lecturer

The Dean’s Teaching Showcase nominee for this week comes from the College of Engineering. Dean Wayne Pennington has chosen to recognize Kit Cischke, a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and faculty advisor for the Wireless Communication Enterprise.

Associate Dean Leonard Bohmann indicates that the “students love Kit because he brings his practical experience into the class, showing the practical applications of the theory.” As evidence, Eta Kappa Nu, the Electrical and Computer Engineering student honor society, selected Kit as their Professor of the Year in both 2013 and 2014. Bohmann continues: “Kit has the ability to make complex topics easy to understand. He works hard to get students to understand and have fun doing it.”

Kit indicates that he does this through analogies, humor, and being open and approachable to students. He strives to be a “complete human being” with his students, sharing stories about his family and life. He also tries to “embrace technology”, using an iPad to deliver his lectures and an audio recorder so students can review them.

Kit has a long history of excellent teaching contributions at Michigan Tech. Brian Broeders, an alumnus who has been working as a product engineer for Plexus Engineering Solutions since 2009, praised Kit in a 2010 Linked In post for similar reasons. “He teaches class material in a clear and easy to understand format and his lab exercises help students make use of topics learned in class…I wish I had more instructors like him when I was in school.” Current students also praise his involvement as an organizational advisor and the fact that he really cares whether students are learning the material.

Cischke will be formally recognized with the 11 other Dean’s Teaching Showcase nominees at a luncheon near the end of spring term. Please join Dean Pennington and the Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning in thanking Kit for his outstanding contributions to the teaching mission of the College of Engineering.

Story as posted in Tech Today, March 25, 2015

Hackers Could Make Smart Homes Stupid–or Worse

image25903-persImagine the smart home of the future. Thanks to a central controller and wi-fi, not only does the thermostat power up and warm or cool the house as you are heading home. Smart light bulbs come on low at dusk and brighten up as the sky gets darker; your washing machine starts a load of clothes when the electricity is cheapest; your smart refrigerator thaws the roast in one section, while another keeps your cheese ready to slice and yet another chills your beer. The doors lock automatically behind you and unlock as you—but no one else—approach. A 2-way nannycam lets you keep an eye on the kids while a sprinkler waters your lawn when water demand is lowest.
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Happy Holidays from ECE

christmas2014Happy holidays and best wishes for the new year from the faculty and staff of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

We will have limited office hours during the two-week holiday period. Please see below for a complete listing.

Monday, Dec. 22: Open 7:30am to 4:00pm

Tuesday, Dec. 23: Open 7:30am to 3:00pm

Wednesday, Dec. 24: Closed

Thursday, Dec. 25: Closed

Friday, Dec. 26: Closed

Monday, Dec. 29: Open 8:00am to 3:00pm

Tuesday, Dec. 30: Open 8:00am to 3:00pm

Wednesday, Dec. 31: Closed

Thursday, Jan. 1: Closed

Friday, Jan. 2: Open 8:00am to 3:00pm

Happy New Year!

 

ECE News Briefs

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The research of Joshua Pearce (MSE/ECE) and his group was highlighted in the article “Can We 3D Print Our Way to Sustainability,” in the Earth Island Journal.

Joshua Pearce (MSE/ECE) coauthored “Effect of ambient combinations of argon, oxygen, and hydrogen on the properties of DC magnetron sputtered indium tin oxide films” in AIP Advances.

R&D, an online magazine, published a story about Associate Professor Shiyan Hu’s (ECE) work on smart home cybersecurity.

The work of Associate Professor Joshua Pearce (MSE/ECE) and his group was featured in “How 3D Printers Are Boosting Off-the-Grid, Underdeveloped Communities” in Motherboard.

PhD students Chenlong Zhang and Jephias Gwamuri (MSE) coauthored an article with Associate Professor Joshua Pearce (MSE/ECE) titled “Design of Multijunction Photovoltaic Cells Optimized for Varied Atmospheric Conditions” published in the International Journal of Photoenergy.

Technology Century, an online and print publication of the Engineering Society of Detroit, featured editor Matt Roush’s interviews with faculty and graduate students from the College of Engineering at Michigan Tech, the first stop on his annual Tech Tour of university campuses in Michigan.

Joshua Pearce (MSE/ECE) coauthored an article, “Innovation Through Collaboration: Scaling up Technological Solutions for Sustainable Development,” published in the journal Environment, Development and Sustainability.

Elena Semouchkina (ECE) has received $83,837 of $257,412 from the National Science Foundation for the first year of a three-year research and development project titled “Collaborative Research: IDBR: Type A: Unconventional Antenna Probes for Ultra-High-Resolution Magnetic Resonance Imaging.”

Zhaohui Wang (ECE) received $100,000 from the University of Connecticut for a research project titled “Collaborative Research: Underwater Distributed Antenna Systems: Fundamental Limits and Practical Designs.”

PhD students Ankit Vora (ECE) and Jephias Gwamuri (MSE) co-authored a paper with Joshua Pearce (MSE/ECE), Paul Bergstrom (ECE) and Durdu Guney (ECE) titled “Multi-resonant Silver Nano-disk Patterned Thin Film Amorphous Silicon Solar Cells For Staebler-Wronski Effect Compensation,” in the “Journal of Applied Physics.”

PluggedIn, an internal newsletter published by American Transmission Company (ATC), featured an article about a Michigan Tech Senior Design team that worked with ATC to create a tool that can be used to determine whether it is safe to use ATC transmission lines to start a motor, something that the company’s customers often want to know if they can do. The student team won the Michigan Tech Electrical and Computer Engineering External Advisory Committee’s Industry Innovation Award for their work. See their work.

Graduate School Announces Award Recipients for Fall 2013 and Spring 2014; The Graduate School is pleased to announce that the following students have earned: Fang Chen, PhD candidate in electrical engineering; Xiaohui Wang, PhD candidate in electrical engineering

Outstanding Alumni and Friends Recognized: Please join us in congratulating the following recipients of the 2014 Alumni Association awards:Honorary Alumna: Martha Sloan, professor emerita, electrical and computer engineering. Sloan’s profile is available online.

Assistant Professor Zhaohui Wang (ECE) was honored at 2013 Connecticut Women of Innovation Awards ceremonies, receiving the Collegian Innovation and Leadership Award for exceptional achievements in the area of underwater acoustic communications and networking. The awards are sponsored by the Connecticut Technology Council, Boehringer Ingelheim USA, Covidien, Day Pitney and United Technologies. She was honored for her work on underwater acoustic communications. Wang has also received a 2014 Outstanding Senior Women Academic Achievement Award from the Graduate School of the University of Connecticut.
The awards honor outstanding graduating women from each of the university’s schools and colleges and are sponsored by the The Provost’s Office, the Alumni Association and the Women’s Center at the University of Connecticut. With her advisor, Wang has also coauthored the book, “OFDM for Underwater Acoustic Communications,” published by John Wiley & Sons and available here and on Amazon.

A story on Associate Professor Shiyan Hu’s (ECE) research, “A Lab in
Your Pocket
,” was published on the eHealthserver website. It can be viewed online.

Michael Briseno awarded Mi-Light Photonics Scholarship

Michael Briseno receives Mi-Light Scholarship award from ECE Chair Dan Fuhrmann
Dan Fuhrmann presents Mi-Light Scholarship Award to Michael Briseno

Michael Briseno, a senior double majoring in Electrical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering, was selected to receive a $1,250 Mi-Light Photonics Scholarship for academic year 2014-2015. The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Michigan Technological University was among four in-state academic institutions to receive a share of the $5,000 scholarship funding provided by Mi-Light, the Michigan photonics industry cluster. The scholarship was created to support and promote photonics-related business in Michigan.

This fall, applications were accepted from undergraduate students majoring in electrical engineering; currently or have previously completed course work in photonics ; minimum GPA of 3.0; and demonstrated intent of continuing within the field. In addition to Briseno’s desire to pursue a career in photonics/optics, he was selected for his academic accomplishments and service.

Briseno is a member of the International Society for Optics and Photonics and the Optical Society of America, serving as secretary of the SPIE/OSA student organization at Michigan Tech. As SPIE/OSA secretary, he participated in middle and high school outreach programs presenting photonics demos and talking with students. He notes that one of the most rewarding things of this experience was seeing the students’ eyes light up as they learned about photonics through visually exciting applications. This past summer Briseno was hired by PPG Industries as a color scientist intern working with the optical properties of automotive paints and refinish.

Briseno also serves as president of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) and is a member of Michigan Tech’s Memorial Union Board and Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES).

See ECE Photonics for more information regarding the ECE Department’s Photonics Concentration.

Mi-Light is a non-profit organization serving Michigan’s photonics industry by bringing together professionals from companies, academia and organizations to mutually support and promote photonics-related business. For more on Mi-Light visit: www.mi-light.org.

Funds for this initiative were provided by the 21st Century Jobs Fund, a Michigan Strategic Fund program designed to accelerate the growth and diversification of Michigan’s economy. The MEDC, a public-private partnership between the state and local communities, provides administrative support for the 21st Century Jobs Fund. The MEDC markets Michigan and provides the tools and environment to drive job creation and investment. For more information on the 21st Century Jobs Fund initiative, visit www.MichiganAdvantage.org.For more on MEDC visit:  MichiganAdvantage.org.

Michigan Tech Adds New Peace Corps Master’s International Programs in Computer Science, Electrical and Computer Engineering, GIS

Michigan Technological University’s award-winning Peace Corps Master’s International (PCMI) program is offering new degree options for students in two departments: computer science and electrical and computer engineering (ECE). The School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science is also expanding its PCMI programs to include a Master of Geographic Information Science.
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Dr. Dennis Wiitanen Honored with Legacy Marker

IMG_2575denniswiitanenThe unveiling of the first Legacy Marker for Alumni Way was held in front of the EERC. The Legacy Marker serves to honor someone associated with Michigan Tech, and it was unveiled and presented as a surprise to the Dennis O. Wiitanen, Professor Emeritus, Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Dennis O. Wiitanen received the B.S. and M.S. degrees from Michigan Tech in 1963 and 1967 respectively, and the Ph.D. degree from the University of Missouri-Rolla in 1970, all in electrical engineering.

In 1970, he joined the electrical and computer engineering department at Michigan Tech, where his major research interests were in the areas of insulating materials and power systems. Dr. Wiitanen taught courses in both electric machines and power systems for over forty years. He is currently a Professor Emeritus.

Dr. Wiitanen is a member of the IEEE’s Power Engineering Society, Education Society, Industry Applications Society, and Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation Society, serving on several committees and subcommittees, and is a Registered Professional Engineer in the State of Michigan.

See the Photo Gallery

See the Video from UpperMichiganSource

Dennis Wiitanen Legacy Monument
Dennis Wiitanen Legacy Monument

ECE Announces 2014 Graduate Student Awards

Zagros Shahooei receives the 2014 Jonathan Bara Award for Outstanding GTA presented by ECE Chair Dan Fuhrmann
Zagros Shahooei receives the 2014 Jonathan Bara Award for Outstanding GTA presented by ECE Chair Dan Fuhrmann

The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering announced its selection of the 2014 graduate student awards at the annual ECE Graduate Student and External Advisory Committee Banquet held on Thursday evening, October 2, in the Memorial Union Building Ballroom. Each year a nomination and selection process is conducted by the ECE faculty to identify an outstanding graduate teaching assistant (GTA) and graduate research assistant (GRA). This year’s award recipients are Zagros Shahooei, Jonathan Bara Outstanding GTA, and Xiaohui Wang, Matt Wolfe Outstanding GRA.

PhD student Zagros Shahooei was honored for his enthusiasm, and working relationship with the students as evident by his high teaching evaluations. In the Fall of 2013, he was recognized as one of the top GTAs campus-wide when the Graduate School awarded him with an Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Award. During this time he carried a heavy course load, completing 30 credits of coursework while maintaining a 4.0 GPA. He also prepared for and successfully passed the PhD qualifier, and initiated his PhD research.

He has been effective at teaching a broad set of topics and lab skills at course levels from 2000 to 5000, and to ECE majors and non-majors alike. In the process, he learned and taught the following software packages: PSPICE, LabView, Eagle PCB Design, MultiSim, Matlab Simulink, ASPEN, SEL AcSELerator, ATP, and Doble Power Suite.

Zagros did a particularly outstanding job in EE5224, teaching 4 sections of a graduate-level lab that requires a great deal of preparation of lab software, hardware, and prelab guidance of the students. Based on his knowledge and demonstrated capabilities, he was chosen to participate in an international education and research exchange project at NTNU, in Trondheim, Norway from February through June of this year. The project is funded by the Norwegian Centre for International Cooperation in Education. Zagros shared the knowledge, best practices, and experience gained from teaching EE5224, assisted his hosts in designing and developing power system protection laboratory capabilities in support of graduate research projects, helped to advise and support two masters students in their projects, and contributed to research proposal writing. The expected outcome is to increase collaborative possibilities for research and exchange opportunities between Michigan Tech and NTNU. At the same time, he was developing his own PhD research proposal in the area of power system protection. He is now back at MTU continuing his progress toward PhD. Mr. Shahooei’s advisor is Dr. Bruce Mork.

xiaohui, wang_photo
Xiaohui Wang, PhD, 2014 Matt Wolfe Outstanding GRA

Xiaohui Wang received his degree PhD in Electrical Engineering from Michigan Tech in April 2014. He is honored as a truly exceptional graduate research assistant during his time at Michigan Tech.

Xiaohui began his PhD candidacy under the direction of his advisor Dr. Elena Semouchkina in Spring 2010, working on his dissertation entitled “Experimental and Computational Studies of Electromagnetic Cloaking at Microwaves”. Xiaohui’s research was featured in the Frontiers of Engineering Physics for his work on the development of novel metamaterials and invisibility cloaks. His outstanding work has demonstrated the feasibility of metamaterial cloaking devices via simulations and experiments on prototype cloaks at microwave frequencies. This cutting edge research is bringing distinction to Michigan Tech. In particular, the work on cloaking is currently featured on the NSF “Discoveries” website: http://www.nsf.gov/discoveries/index.jsp?pims_id=13381&org=NSF

These findings were published in two 2013 Letter papers with Dr. Wang as the first author, one in the IEEE Microwave and Wireless Component Letters (MWCL) and another in the Applied Physics Letters, have been featured in two “First Bell” ASSE’s newsletters under “Higher Education”: http://mailview.custombriefings.com/mailview.aspx?m=2013032701asee&r=4154459-d0d6http://mailview.custombriefings.com/mailview.aspx?m=2013020501asee&r=2865525-b08b

This work has also inspired a question on the game show “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” asking the contestant, ”What item are scientists at Michigan Technological University trying to build by capturing rays of light and routing them around objects?”.

Overall, Dr. Wang has authored and co-authored 5 published journal papers. His 5th paper published in the American Institute of Physics Advances (AIP Advances) in December 2013 develops a 3D spherical invisibility cloak, in addition to previously developed 2D cylindrical cloaks. The 6th paper, which he co-authored and submitted in summer 2014, is currently under review in the Journal of Applied Physics. He has also authored and co-authored 8 published refereed conference proceedings and two oral presentations at the IEEE International Symposium on Antennas and Propagation.

In recognition of the high quality of his work, his conference paper “Electromagnetic Cloaking by Using Multilayer Dielectric Coating” submitted to the 2013 IEEE International Symposium on Antennas and Propagation was selected as Honorable Mention at the Best Student Paper Competition. The award included a $1000 stipend to attend and present his work at the Symposium in Orlando, Florida in July 2013. He was also invited to serve as the Session Chair, which is an exceptional honor for a graduate student.

In addition to Dr. Wang’s academic and research success, he was an invaluable contributor to establishing the new “Microwave Characterization Lab” in the Electrical Energy Resources Center (EERC), home to the ECE Department, where he has assembled equipment for full characterization of materials, metamaterials, and devices at frequencies up to 20 GHz and help to renovate the adjacent anechoic chamber, replacing the old microwave absorbers.

Xiaohui is currently an intern with Delphi in Kokomo, Indiana, and will begin his full-time position with the company in January 2015.

For more information please see Jonathan Bara Award for GTA and Matt Wolfe Award for Outstanding GRA.

 

Nucor Industrial Control and Automation Lab Opens

Nucor_3

A ceremony was held Monday to celebrate completion of the new Nucor Industrial Control and Automation Laboratory in the Electrical Energy Resources Center. The state-of-the-art facility was made possible by a $255,000 gift from Nucor Corporation, the largest manufacturer of steel products in North America.

The laboratory is a collaborative effort of Electrical Engineering Technology in the School of Technology and the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in the College of Engineering. It is an example of cooperation within Michigan Tech’s new Alliance for Computing, Information and Automation (ACIA), which combines common interests among established academic units to better equip future graduates and to align research activities with contemporary technological challenges.

The laboratory consists of eight portable Amatrol Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) Learning Systems, equipped with Allen-Bradley CompactLogix 5300 PLCs and Human Machine Interface (HMI). These trainers enhance the teaching of PLC concepts and HMI programming using the latest generation of PLCs. The new technology also includes a fluid flow Process Control Learning System equipped with a Honeywell PID controller and four mechatronic stations fully integrated with a Fanuc Robotics System, enabling teaching of advanced concepts of PLC programming and overall system troubleshooting skills.

PLCs are an integral part of nearly all industrial processes today. A PLC is a digital computer used for the automation of a variety of electromechanical processes, including temperature ranges, immunity to electrical noise and resistance to vibration and impact. PLCs are often integrated with robotic technology.

“Graduates who will be employed in industries utilizing these systems must not only have basic knowledge of PLCs and robotics, but also the skills to integrate these systems,” said Jim Frendewey, dean of the School of Technology. “The knowledge and experience students receive will produce well-educated graduates with practical, hands-on experience designing, configuring and troubleshooting industrial control systems.”

Dan Fuhrmann, chair of electrical and computer engineering, said, “Knowledge and experience in control systems has been the single most sought-after skill set from our corporate recruiters looking to hire electrical engineering graduates, for the past several years. With the Nucor Laboratory we will take a major step forward in meeting the demands of industry and open up opportunities for our students.”

President Glenn Mroz emphasized the importance of the new lab as he spoke to those in attendance at the ceremony. “Michigan’s economy has gone from one of the worst to 16th for growth among the states in a very short time,” he said. ”We’re now in a renaissance in manufacturing, and the people graduating today have the knowledge and skills because of companies like Nucor who have made substantial investments in the education of Michigan Tech students. We realize that this represents a commitment both by Nucor and our faculty and staff that only comes about when people have a clear bead on priorities. We’re thankful to Nucor for helping our students have the best.”

Kurt Kalenauskas, an electrical engineering technology senior, said he is “jealous of the new students who get to learn and work with the equipment and technology the Nucor laboratory has to offer.”

Nucor has an established relationship with Michigan Tech that began in 2008, when the company sent two representatives to a Career Fair. They were so impressed that they asked Career Services how Nucor could help Michigan Tech help its students.  Since then, the company has become a Career Services Gold Partner, providing financial support and sending several representatives to campus before each Career Fair to work directly with students on interview and resume preparation.

“Nucor recruits technical talent and future leaders at Michigan Tech because Tech graduates have proven to be successful Nucor teammates,” said Dave Davolt, electrical supervisor at the company. “Nucor’s relationship and involvement with Michigan Tech has grown stronger over the years. This is evident with Nucor’s investment in technology relevant to today’s manufacturing industry. With these investments and partnerships, Nucor hopes to better equip students for postgraduation opportunities, which we hope they seek with Nucor. “

Aleksandr Sergeyev, an associate professor in the School of Technology with a special interest in robotics, will head the new laboratory, with faculty from both Electrical Engineering Technology and Electrical and Computer Engineering teaching there. Hundreds of students each year will participate in laboratory activities, and those numbers are expected to grow with future development of new advanced courses made possible by the capabilities of the lab.